How to Earn an Art History Degree

How to Earn an Art History Degree

An art history degree is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of art in various mediums and the historical importance of the styles that were created[1]. The skills developed while studying the subject are of value to a wide range of prospective employers. These skills include the ability to think critically and creatively, to communicate original ideas effectively, and to solve problems by considering multiple approaches. Art history students have gone on to varied careers from museum curators to financial analysts[2]

The majority of art history degrees awarded by universities and colleges are either Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts. Both of these degrees take an average of four years of study to complete. During this time, courses that explore art throughout various ages and locations are taken by the student so that they may develop a complete understanding of art and its history. Examples of typical courses include The Art of Ancient Rome, Early Christian Art, Art of Ancient Greece, and 20th Century Art[3].  By dividing the study of art into certain eras in human history, the development of themes and styles may be more easily explored in a critical fashion. The typical undergraduate program requires that students complete approximately 42-48 hours of coursework in art history, including numerous survey and seminar courses, as well as a research project to be completed under the direction of a staff member. The total number of hours required to complete the program, depending on the specific university or college attended, is usually between 120 to 135 hours[4]

Since the jobs available to art history students are varied, the career outlook of these students differs greatly depending on the types of jobs they choose to pursue.  Museum curators, for example, have a median annual wage of approximately $54,600 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics[5]. The growth rate for the profession in the next decade is expected to be average. On the other hand, entering a profession outside the field of art history such as being an office assistant may earn the worker substantially less money. In fact, office assistants have an average income of around $35,390 per year and the demand for the profession over the next ten years is expected to be about the same as it is for curators. So as you may see, there are many different career paths for the holder of an art history degree to choose from, so an average salary is difficult to ascertain[6]

 

 

Are you ready to pursue your art career? Get information on programs in your area and online using our art degree finder at the top of this page.